Do Your Paperwork
After your baby’s birth certificate, the most important document you’ll need is Form SS-5 from the Social Security Administration. Most hospitals give out cards you can send in to request the form. This form allows you to apply for a Social Security number for your newborn. That in turn lets you claim a tax deduction. In addition, you may be eligible for a tax credit for children under age 17. Unlike a deduction, a credit is deducted directly from the taxes you owe, rather than your taxable income.
To ensure that your baby’s health-care costs will be covered by your insurer, you’ll need to officially enroll her in your medical plan within 30 days of the birth. And while you’re filling out forms, take time to review the beneficiary designations on your retirement plans and life-insurance policies. Chances are you’ve named your spouse as your rightful heir, and you’ll probably want to keep it that way. But if you’ve named parents, siblings, or best friends as your secondary beneficiaries, you might want to replace them with your newest family member.
Diane Harris is a freelance writer.